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Title: Accountability of Innovation - A literature review, framework and guidelines to strengthen accountability of organisations engaged in technological innovation
Authors: Whitty, Brendan
Gersten, Julie
Poskakukhina, Yulia
Issue Date: Feb-2010
Abstract: Technological advances in fields such as health care, food security and clean energy offer vital solutions to the chronic problems facing human society today. Innovation is a key element of progress and improvement in the quality of life of people across the world. Yet since the Second World War there has been a significant change in the understanding of how technological innovation happens, and how technological innovation in different sectors can be improved. Literature and practice reveals in particular a growing awareness of the need when innovating to take into account a wider group of stakeholders, including the users, as well as a range of social, economic and cultural factors. It is vital therefore to be much more widely accountable and responsive. This paper synthesises some of the most important lessons learned arising from this new understanding of innovation, and provides a framework of accountability for organisations engaged in technological research and development. The guidelines focus on supporting organisations to become more effective, while simultaneously ensuring that they adhere to ethical standards in their innovation. Working towards principles of accountability in the innovation process including engagement with external stakeholders, evaluation, and communicating with them, helps to ensure their ongoing cooperation, acceptance and productive use of often complex technological and scientific innovations beyond the narrow group of experts. Starting from a literature review, the paper presents a set of guidelines which are designed to assist a research manager reflect on their accountability. It provides options and principles, rooted in the literature, which can help them address the processes and consider organisational change. The briefing paper is accordingly split into three main parts. The first articulates a theory of accountability, distinguishing between accountability which serves an ethical purpose and accountability which makes an organisation more effective. The second covers the literature addressing the new understanding of innovation, and analyses it for the relevance to accountability. The third part offers a set of guidelines, structured around distinct processes common to most organisations – strategic planning, project identification and design, conducting the research, and then concluding the research process.
Description: Briefing paper number 124
ISSN: 2043-7943
Project Number: 105327
Project Title: Accountability Principles for Research Organizations : Putting Principles into Practice - Phase II
Appears in Collections:IDRC Research Results / Résultats de recherches du CRDI
Accountability Principles for Research Organizations / Principes de responsabilité pour des organismes de recherche
2010-2019 / Années 2010-2019

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